Les amis d'Edith Piaf

"Edith Piaf a chanté l'amour comme on ne le chantera plus. Elle a chanté l'amour à fleur de cœur, elle a chanté le cœur en respirant l'amour" (Michel Rivgauche)

Biographie en Français
Edith Piaf née Edith Giovanna Gassion le 19 décembre 1915 à Paris, morte le 11 octobre 1963 , surnommé la môme Piaf , était une chanteuse française de music-hall et de variétés. On lui doit de très nombreux succès du répertoire francophone comme La Vie en rose, Non, je ne regrette rien, Hymne à l'amour, Mon légionnaire ou Milord. Personnalité; hors norme, elle inspirera de nombreux compositeurs, sera le mentor de nombreux jeunes artistes et connaîtra une renommée internationale, malgré de graves problèmes de santé. Edith Piaf fut aussi comédienne au théâtre et au cinéma. Personnalité et voix de la chanson française hors du commun, elle reste l'une des chanteuses françaises les plus célèbres du monde et aura lancé avec succès la carrière de nombreux chanteurs, comme Yves Montand, Charles Aznavour, Georges Moustaki , Charles Dumont.
Edith Giovanna Gassion werd op 19 december 1915 geboren in een van de armste wijken van Parijs, namelijk Ménilmontant. Haar ouders waren de kroegzangeres Anita Maillard en de acrobaat Louis Alphonse Gassion. Edith had een niet bepaald gelukkige jeugd, zij wordt na haar geboorte na twee maanden verwaarlozing overgedragen aan haar vader. Ook deze kan niet goed voor haar zorgen en na de (Eerste Wereld) oorlog stuurt hij Edith naar zijn moeder.
Wanneer Edith 8 jaar oud is gaat zij terug naar haar vader. Hij stuurt haar niet naar school, maar laat haar voor hem werken. Hier, op straat, leert Edith zingen.
In 1935 wordt zij ontdekt door nachtclubeigenaar Louis Leplee. Hij geeft haar de naam Piaf. Vanaf dat moment begint haar carrière te bloeien.
Piaf zong meer dan 400 chansons, ze schreef ook tekst en muziek van enkele van haar gekenste chansons o.a. “La vie en rose”
Edith heeft zich altijd ingezet voor aankomend talent, waaronder onder andere Charles Aznavour, Yves Montand Charles Dumont, Moustaki enz ...
De zangeres van “Non, je ne regrette rien” en het eveneens beroemde “Milord” was erg hard voor zichzelf. Haar gezondheid ging hard achteruit aan het einde van de jaren 50 van de vorige eeuw, maar ze bleef optreden en haar stem bleef krachtig.
Op 11 oktober 1963 overlijdt Edith Giovanna Gasson aan de gevolgen van leverkanker. Er was een einde gekomen aan het leven van een vrouw die kracht en tragedie uitstraalde, maar die vol humor en liefde zat. Haar lijfspreuk was “Ik heb nergens spijt van”.
Edith werd begraven op Père Lachaise in Parijs. Tijdens de uitvaart waren honderdduizenden mensen op de been in Parijs en werd de begraafplaats geblokkeerd door meer dan 40.000 fans. Sinds het einde van de Tweede Wereldoorlog was dit het enige moment dat het hele verkeer in Parijs stil lag !
Legend has it that Edith Piaf was born (as Edith Giovanna Gassion) on a Parisian street corner with two policemen attending. This is not a far-fetched idea, however, and may be true. Ediths mother was an street singer who neglected her for all of two months and then abandoned her to her father. Ediths father, Jean Gassion, was a famous acrobat who hadnt the time nor the skills to nurture an infant. He dropped the child off with his mother, the madam of a bordello, and she raised Edith through the toddler years.
When Edith was school-aged, her father reclaimed her and made her part of his act, performing in circuses and nightclubs. Although her fathers life was not a stable one, he truly loved Edith and did his best to care for her. By the age of fifteen, though, Edith had had enough of circus life and went back to Paris, where she began singing for money in the streets.
In 1935, Edith was discovered by a nightclub owner named Louis Leplee. Leplees establishment was called Gernys, as many Parisian clubs were in those days. Leplee convinced Edith to sing at Gernys despite her extreme nervousness, and gave her the nickname that would stay with her for the rest of her life: "La Mome Piaf "(The Little Sparrow). From this she took her stage name.
Ediths specialty was the poignant ballad, and soon all of Paris was talking about the waif with the heartbreaking voice. She began to make friends with famous people, such as the actor Maurice Chevalier and the poet Jaques Borgeat.
In April of 1936 Edith was devastated when her mentor, Louis Leplee, was found murdered in his apartment. She was appalled to be considered a suspect, but knew that her reputation for associating with unsavory characters wasnt helping her in this situation. It was at this low point that she turned to a businessman named Raymond Asso. Though Asso was married, he helped Edith to straighten things out with the police, and they began a tempestuous affair. She handed the reins of her career over to him, and under his management her star ascended. Soon her shows were selling out and her financial prospects improved dramatically.
In 1939, Edith left Asso for Paul Meurisse, a wealthy singer who offered her a way into sophisticated, upper class Paris. While Edith enjoyed her new lifestyle, the relationship was not a happy one. Both partners were stubborn and temperamental, and their arguments often turned violent. They were befriended by the playwright Jean Cocteau, and he based his play Le Belle Indifferent on their twisted love. Edith starred in the first production of the play, in 1940. By this time, the Germans were threatening invasion. Edith performed in many benefits for the French Army.
After the war, Edith toured Europe, the United States, and South America, becoming an internationally known figure.
During her stay in New York Piaf would make two important encounters, striking up a friendship with Marlene Dietrich (with whom she would remain in close contact right up until the end of her life) and falling in love with boxing champion Marcel Cerdan. Piaf and Cerdan's whirlwind romance soon made the international headlines, newspapers around the world picking up on the fairytale story of "The Queen of French music and the King of the Ring". The celebrity couple appeared blissfully happy, leading their own respective careers without the slightest trace of rivalry. After so many years of personal tragedy, Piaf appeared to have finally found happiness and she paid tribute to Cerdan in her classic "L'hymne à l'amour" (a song she wrote in collaboration with French songwriter Marguerite Monnot).
But Piaf's life was soon to be blighted by tragedy once again. On 28 October 1949 Marcel Cerdan was killed in a plane crash over the Azores islands. Piaf, utterly distraught by this new loss, spiralled into a deep depression which she would never manage to climb out of, in spite of the fact that she bravely battled on with her singing career.
Then, in 1951, tragedy struck. She was in a horrible car accident, breaking an arm and several ribs. The doctors prescribed morphine, and she also began drinking heavily to ease the pain. In 1952, she settled down a bit when she married songwriter Jaques Pills.
They were divorced by 1957 however.
In 1960 Piaf began working with the young French songwriter Charles Dumont who would offer the singer the most famous song of her entire career, "Non je ne regrette rien". Piaf was totally bowled over by the song and promised to premiere it at her next major concert, which happened to be L'Olympia. (Piaf had promised Bruno Coquatrix that she would appear at L'Olympia at the beginning of 1961, to help the director save the famous Paris venue from bankruptcy). Piaf threw herself into the lyrics of "Non je ne regrette rien" body and soul, and her performance at the Olympia that night would go down in music history as one of the most legendary concerts of all time.
Soon after started a romance with Theo Sarapo, 12 years her junior which led to their marriage in 1962.
In early 1963, Edith recorded her last song, Lhomme de Berlin.
She died on October 11 of that year.
The news of Piaf's death caused a national outpouring of grief and tens of thousands of fans flocked to Paris on 14 October to follow the singer's coffin to its final resting-place in the Père Lachaise cemetery. Today Piaf's tomb remains one of the most visited sites at Père Lachaise, thousands of fans making an annual pilgrimage to the cemetery to lay flowers on her grave.